Yo-Yo Ma joins orchestral collective The Knights for Azul, to be released by Warner Classics on March 31.
The album showcases Osvaldo Golijov’s Azul, commissioned for Mr. Ma by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and premiered in 2006. For this piece, Golijov was influenced by the Western classical tradition, tango, klezmer, gypsy, and Middle Eastern music.
Osvaldo Golijov has an incredibly magnetic personality and a vaulting imagination, and he writes music that really is of our era. Osvaldo composes in such a way that he allows for the introduction of new instruments and sounds – he can create a different piece of music from what is given to him in every situation.
Also featured on the celestial-themed release is Colin Jacobsen and Siamak Aghaei’s “Ascending Bird”; ”Song to the Moon,” from Dvorak’s Rusalka; “Leo,” from Stockhausen’s Tierkreis (arranged by Caroline Shaw); and Sufjan Steven’s Suite from “Run Rabbit Run” (arranged by Michael P. Atkinson).
The music engages with the question of perspective – of looking at the cold beauty of the stars from below, juxtaposed with a birds-eye view of the tumultuous pulsation of life in all its warm messiness down here on the surface. Yo-Yo often talks about how the arts can encourage the capacity for imagination, and that imaginative aptitude is an essential quality, whether one is pursuing the arts, business, politics, or any other endeavor. If we collectively and individually don't have the capacity to imagine a better world, how can we even begin to address the challenges that we face?
Knights co-Artistic Director & violinist Colin Jacobsen